For many individuals in law enforcement, a partner is often considered a member of the family...

For many individuals in law enforcement, a partner is often considered a member of the family. Working together day after day in uncertain situations, while protecting each other as well as the citizens in his or her charge helps to form a strong bond.

When it comes to the retirement of one's partner it can be an emotional time. Jackson County Sheriff Department Detective Ross Mellenger knows how it feels to lose a partner through retirement.

The 17-year member of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department has moved up from a correctional officer, to road deputy as well as a K-9 handler to his current position as a Detective in the department. Mellenger's partner for the past five years was as unique as he was enthusiastic about his job.

This enthusiasm was directed toward protecting and performing his duties as a law enforcer to the best of his ability along side his co-worker. Now this time has come to an end.

In a recent interview Mellenger spoke about his comrade in arms, Jup (Pronounced Yupe) a well-trained K-9.

"My partner "Jup," was a three-year old German Shepherd from the Czech Republic and was assigned to me in June, 2008," said Mellenger, "He and I completed a six- week K-9 handling school. This was after he completed a six-week training school of his own. From there, we attended weekly maintenance training classes hosted by the same K-9 facility, Pine Grove Kennel."

Jup proved to be worth all of the training he received without and with his partner. Jup was gentle around children during visits with students at Jackson County schools. And, his skills as a K-9 helped remove drugs from the streets and put dealers into jail.

According to Mellenger, Jup's record is quite impressive.

Informed the law officer, "One of his highest achievements would have to be finding $52,000 hidden in a dope dealer's storage tote hidden in a storage room filled with 60 other similar totes. The second one would be $15,000 taken from a rental car where the money was hidden under the trunk compartment. That search was conducted for the metro drug unit in Kanawha County at their request."

Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs stated that Jup was a good asset to the department, but it was time to let him retire.

Said the sheriff, German Shepherds are prone to have problems with Hip Dysplasia."

Boggs explained that Hip Dysplasia is common in larger breeds of dogs and is a malformation of the hip socket that eventually causes arthritis and crippling lameness in the animal's joints that becomes very painful.

Boggs continued, "He's a good dog and if the situation ever arises that we need him, we could use him. But we'd rather not do that because it would be hard on him."

Mellenger stated that Jup doesn't have to worry about finding a new home, "He is, in fact, staying with us at home and living the good life.